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Mock Meats: Are Ready-Made Veggie Meat Alternatives Good to Eat?

As part of the transition to a plant-based diet, and to satisfy occasional cravings or participate in social events, many choose to buy and consume mock (or “fake”) meat products.

Before reading further, please be aware we are specifically discussing products that intentionally try to mimic meat. This does not include foods such as: vegetable burgers and sausage, portobello mushroom burgers etc.

Mock meats are generally based on tofu, tempeh, seitan, jackfruit, mushrooms, legumes, and/or texturized vegetable protein, which are then mixed and processed with secondary ingredients to form the final product.

While these may provide some of the flavor and textures you’re looking for, many mock meat products are unfortunately heavily processed and adulterated and aren’t to be considered healthy in any way.

Having said this, as always, check the ingredients. Remember, tofu has been a staple in China for decades and in itself, is not trying to replicate any other food.

The popular plant-based Impossible Burger has been found to contain significant levels of glyphosate herbicide residues—in fact up to 11 times higher when compared against the Beyond Meat Burger.

Icon background of a steak

Here are some popular options and their ingredients at the time of writing (July 3rd, 2020):

Impossible Burger:

Water, Soy Protein Concentrate, Coconut Oil, Sunflower Oil, Natural Flavors, 2% Or Less Of: Potato Protein, Methylcellulose, Yeast Extract, Cultured Dextrose, Food Starch Modified, Soy Leghemoglobin, Salt, Mixed Tocopherols (Antioxidant), Soy Protein Isolate, Vitamins and Minerals (Zinc Gluconate, Thiamine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B1), Niacin, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Vitamin B12).


Beyond Meat Burger:

Water, Pea Protein*, Expeller-Pressed Canola Oil, Refined Coconut Oil, Rice Protein, Natural Flavors, Cocoa Butter, Mung Bean Protein, Methylcellulose, Potato Starch, Apple Extract, Pomegranate Extract, Salt, Potassium Chloride, Vinegar, Lemon Juice Concentrate, Sunflower Lecithin, Beet Juice Extract (for color)


Tofurky Slow Roasted Chick’n:

Water, vital wheat gluten, expeller pressed canola oil, organic tofu (water, organic soybeans, magnesium chloride, calcium chloride),natural flavors, contains less than 2% of cornstarch,oat fiber, cane sugar, garlic puree, granulated garlic,onion powder, sea salt, spices, soy sauce (water,soybeans, wheat, salt), natural smoke flavor,sunflower oil, sesame oil, celery seed oil, citric acid,calcium lactate, potassium chloride, titanium dioxide(for color), gum arabic, xanthan gum


Lightlife Smart Ground Original:

Water, Soy Protein Concentrate, Soy Oil, Less than 2%: Salt, Inulin, Yeast Extract, Maltodextrin, Modified Corn Starch, Natural Flavors (from Plant Sources), Evaporated Cane Sugar, Caramel Color, Barley Malt Extract, Potassium Chloride, Soy Sauce (Water, Soybeans, Salt, Wheat), Dried Onion, Molasses, Torula Yeast Extract, Natural Smoke Flavor, Dried Garlic


Yves The Good Veggie Burger:

Water, Textured Soy Protein, Vital Wheat Gluten, Expeller Pressed Canola Oil, Onions, Natural Flavors (Contains Yeast Extract), Cornstarch, And Less Than 2% Each Of: Fruit Powder (Pear, Apple, Plum), Modified Cellulose, Malt Extract, Salt Blend (Sea Salt, Potassium Chloride, Magnesium Chloride & Sulfate), Evaporated Cane Sugar, Carrageenan, Dehydrated Onion, Spice, Vitamins & Minerals (Ferrous Fumarate, Zinc Oxide, Nicacinamide, Vitamin B12, Calcium Pantothenate, Thiamine Hydrochloride, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin)


Quorn Vegan Fishless Sticks:

Rice, Wheat Flour (Wheat Flour, Calcium Carbonate, Iron, Niacin, Thiamine), Mycoprotein (12%), Water, Sodium Alginate. Contains 2% or less of Canola Oil, Sunflower Oil, Methylcellulose, Yeast, Salt, Paprika, Paprika Extract, Natural Flavor, Maltodextrin, Sugar, Gum Arabic, Coconut Oil, Palm Oil


In Conclusion

Icon background of magnifying glass

Certainly we think you’ll agree that some of these overly processed foods are not ideally included in any long-term diet.

We recommend keeping them to a minimum and if you’re serious about your health, avoiding them altogether.

Having said this, if you really want to include them in your lifestyle because you’re not in it for your health right now, shop around and always check the ingredients, not all mock meats are equal.

Some people may suggest meat is healthier than mock meats. But in doing so, they ignore some factors:

  • livestock meat usually contains high levels of antibiotics that adversely affect our health, especially long-term
  • kosher and halal slaughter methods are extremely controversial, even to meat eaters, regardless of how the animal was raised

A better alternative to the store-bought options, is finding healthier vegan-friendly substitute recipes which you can easily prepare yourself.

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